Children Positive Discipline by Age & Stage


How to positively discipline your child according to their developmental age and stage? How to respond when your toddler tests the limits or when your pre-schooler screams in frustration?

Use this short guide as a springboard to navigating such early childhood dilemmas.

In a world of information overload, it can be challenging to find the answers!

This is why we sifted through scientific studies, so you don’t have to, in order to bring you this positive discipline guide, divided by the child’s age and developmental stage.

Baby (0-12 months)

Babies thrive on schedules and crave predictability to feel secure. Allow your baby to work through some frustrations to develop self-soothing mechanisms. No other discipline is needed at this tender age!

Infant (Ages 1-2)

Building on their innate curiosity, infants are natural explorers! Keep your infant safe by redirecting “bad behavior” using a short and firm explanation (No-hot!). With an immature brain and minimal language capabilities, avoid lengthy, verbal explanations. Remove an object or child from a risky situation.

girl in white long sleeve shirt holding watermelon

Toddler (Ages 2-3)

The young toddler marches to beat of their own drum. Help them navigate life’s changing rhythms by setting boundaries and redirecting bad behavior. A growing sense of independence is accompanied by a need to exert control over their surroundings. Children experience frustration at their own limitations, leading to undesirable behaviors. Coach your child through the emotional storms and teach self-soothing techniques.

Preschool (Ages 3-5)

Free spirited and playful, this younger age-group thrives by exploring and experimenting with our world. Independence emerges, along with popular phrases like “I can do it by myself!” This fun time period is often accompanied by over-stepping boundaries and unsound judgement, as the immature brain learns to adapt to its environment. Outstanding role models are necessary to establish a foundation for good behavior. Time out is an effective tool to reinforce proper behavior, along with redirection and natural consequences. Approval and praise are powerful motivators to rewarding the child. 

girl in red dress playing with an abacus
calm little boy in uniform reading textbook

School-age (Ages 6-12)

With a new-found sense of autonomy, the child begins to select their own friends and activities and voicing their opinions. Parents of school-aged children may experience increased conflicts, but should continue to provide set rules and boundaries, while serving as role models for good behavior. Children of this age group lack reasoning and sound judgement, so parents are still responsible for helping the child navigate important life decisions. Motivate the child by using appropriate rewards (i.e. a trip to the bookstore for an avid reader). Disciplining strategies include the removal of privileges, natural consequences and time out.


Follow Dr. Ari Brown’s sound clinical advice and real life examples, as she walks you through age-appropriate, positive discipline strategies. Satisfaction guaranteed!


The first years of a child’s life are the neurobiological fabric for the rest of development!

Get it right from the start by establishing positive habits with your child, based on mutual love and respect.

This summary infographic highlights children positive parenting strategies by developmental age and stage.

May you and your little one enjoy the magic of childhood for many years to come. Wishing you a wonderfully fulfilling journey!

This article is inspired by Effective Discipline for Children

Dr. Liraz is a neuroscientist mom who loves writing about the inner workings of child brain. In her spare time, she is seen chasing her daughter around the playground and sprinting after the family Airedale dog, who is always getting in trouble.


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